) recently appointed Anthony Zook as its Chief Executive Officer
(CEO). Previously Zook served as a President in
) Medimmune. He was also the Executive Vice President, Global
Commercial Operations at AstraZeneca. Meanwhile, VIVUS also
announced the appointment of Michael Astrue as its Chairman.
Investors reacted positively to the news.
The new CEO has his work cut out for him. The company's lead
product, Qsymia, has performed disappointingly since launch in
Sep 2012. Qsymia revenues in the first quarter of 2013 were only
Qsymia was approved as an adjunct to a healthy, low-calorie
diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight
management in obese (Body Mass Index, or BMI, >30) or
overweight (BMI >27) adults suffering from weight-related
co-morbidities such as hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus,
or dyslipidemia. He has to ensure that Qsymia sales pick up in
the coming quarters.
We remind investors that apart from Qsymia, another
weight-loss drug, Belviq, from
Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) received approval in the US last year. Belviq was launched in
the US last month. Several companies are developing candidates
targeting the lucrative obesity market.
VIVUS was in the news recently when it entered into a license
and commercialization in addition to a supply agreement for its
erectile dysfunction (ED) drug, Spedra, with privately-held
Italian pharmaceutical company, Menarini. As per the terms of the
agreement, Menarini will get the rights to Spedra in more than 40
European countries, apart from Australia and New Zealand.
However, VIVUS is still looking for a partner in the US to
market the drug. We note that the drug, under the trade name
Stendra, was approved in the US in April last year for ED.
VIVUS, a biopharmaceutical company, carries a Zacks Rank #3
(Hold). Biopharma stocks that currently look attractive include
Cadence Pharmaceuticals Inc.
), carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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